Week of February 10, 2015 - Greetings from the Blue Zone

Monday, February 09, 2015 4:49 PM | Anonymous

Green greetings from the blue zone.

The Nicoya Peninsula in Costa Rica is one of five blue zones identified worldwide. The concept of blue zones grew from research on longevity and happiness. As the data was transferred to maps, places where people regularly lived to be 90-100 years old (and more) were circled in blue and are now known as blue zones.

There is a blue zone in Sardinia, in Greece, in Japan, in California, and in Costa Rica. Are there any commonalities among these different cultures that can help us be happier and live longer and healthier as they do?

Yes. And you can incorporate those common features into your life without much struggle, for they are primarily lifestyle choices. Nothing complicated is required; in fact, more simplicity is key.

The predominant lifestyle focus in all blue zones is on family and friends. There is always time for friends, time for family members, time to listen to each other, time to eat together, and work together, and enjoy life together. Numerous scientific studies confirm that close social ties confer greater mental and physical health than exercise or good eating.
Bring the blue zone home by creating a family ritual of eating one meal a day together. When I was growing up, my parents owned a small business and made their own hours, so we had dinner together as a family every night. Later, when I was in high school, they bought a large restaurant and worked long hours there, never knowing when their day would end. So everyone got up early enough to eat breakfast together. Sitting down. With attention. And gratitude for each other and the abundance we enjoyed.

My family had strict rules about meal times. We all ate the same thing. If you didn’t like it, you went hungry. But only after eating one bite of each thing on your plate. No exceptions. No petty tyrannies like I see in many homes that I visit, where the children are not required to be appreciative or accommodating and frequently express contempt for the food and the person preparing it. I strongly believe that allowing a child to eat any kind of limited diet sets them up for a lifetime of marginal health, chronic disease, and mental distress.

Meal time is one of the few areas where I think it is necessary, as a parent, to have rules and stick to them. Children are naturally fearful of strange foods; this protects them. It is the parents’ responsibility to introduce their children to a wide variety of foods at an early age, and to eat a wide variety of unprocessed and natural foods themselves. My granddaughter had eaten more than a hundred kinds of fruits and vegetables before she was two years old. Even today, at seven, she lists “beets” as one of her ten favorite things in the whole world.

I will tell you more about blue zones in the coming weeks. And how you can use blue zone lifestyle choices to improve your life right now.

Meanwhile, I wish you lots of love in your heart on Sweethearts Day.
And I wish you spring in your dreams as we swing past the Feast of Flames and into the Sap Rising Moon.

And, here is the next installment of Trauma Care in the Wilderness. Enjoy.

Green blessings are everywhere.

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